Cannon Community Theater to perform inaugural play

(U.S. Air Force courtesy graphic)

(U.S. Air Force courtesy graphic)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Members of the Cannon Community Theater are gearing up to perform a free production of “Harvey” this Friday and Saturday at the base theater.

A play from the 1940s, “Harvey” centers on one man’s antic-inducing friendship with the play’s namesake, an imaginary 6-foot-6-inch white rabbit.

The play also marks an important milestone for the troupe members as their first-ever performance since they conceptualized and transformed the operational private organization in six months under the guidance of Autumn Williams, a passionate thespian and Air Force spouse.

“I love this play,” Williams said. “It is a classic piece of theater written in 1944 about a man by the name of Elwood P. Dowd. His best friend is named Harvey; unfortunately, Harvey is invisible unless he chooses to reveal himself to others. At the end of the play, everyone is left with the same question that our characters are faced with – Is Harvey real or isn’t he?”

The play is suitable for audiences of all ages with a runtime of a little more than two hours. Williams said she plans for the production to be the first of many by the organization. After a two-week reprieve following performances this weekend, casting for their holiday show, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” will commence.

“The Grinch is definitely targeted for the children of Cannon,” Williams said. “It’s entertaining; it’s fun, which encompasses what we’re about.”

Comprised of enlisted airmen and commissioned officers as well as children and spouses, theater is a creative and social outlet for all members of the Cannon Family. With about a dozen die-hard members attending rehearsals three times each week, the group is hoping to add to their numbers during a general interest meeting slated for early November.

“It’s just a wonderful opportunity to be part of a unique family that you derive such a sense of camaraderie from,” Williams said. “The surface level plus side is, ‘Yes, you can get your performance report bullet and feel good about volunteering,’ but the more lasting thing that comes from it is this sense of belonging to something that’s completely different than whatever stressors you have to deal with every day.”

Only part-way through the inaugural year, Williams has big dreams for the Cannon Community Theater and its following.

“I’d love to be able to see a program that becomes truly established here,” she said. “I’d like to impact our community. The members we have now and the members that we hope to reach, or even just the people who come to our shows, we hope they can see theater as an opportunity for enrichment and recognize the wonderful resiliency piece it offers.”

The general interest meeting will be held Nov. 7 at the base theater at 9 a.m. with auditions for “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” following at 10 a.m. For more information about the Cannon Community Theater or to get involved, visit them online at www.facebook.com/cannoncommunitytheatre.